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NOW With Alex Wagner

News/Business. Alex Wagner. Forces driving the day's stories. New.

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Us 10, Iraq 9, America 9, Israel 8, U.s. 7, Angie 6, Rachel Maddow 5, George W. Bush 4, Chris Christie 4, Jerusalem 4, New York 4, Ron Paul 4, Washington 4, Gary 3, Clinton 3, John Mccain 3, Ann Coulter 3, Larry 3, Benjamin Netanyahu 3, Eugene 3,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    March 18, 2013
    9:00 - 9:59am PDT  

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henderson, bbc world news anchor, catty kay and "washington post" columnist and msnbc political analyst, the inimitab ablable eugene robinso. four months after the gop's loss at the election, the results are in, cause of death, massive full-body trauma. >> our message was weak, our ground game was insufficient. we weren't inclusive. we were behind in both data and digital. and our primary and debate process needed improvement. so there's no one solution, there's a long list of them. >> one of the central themes is that, surprise, the party must not appeal only to old white voters to solve this problem, rnc chair, raince priebis.
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immigration, we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. if we do not, our party's appeal will shrink to its core constituencies only. and yet the gathering at cpac this weekend highlighted just how difficult it will be to change the fundamentals or really change anything at all. >> we're not here to rebrand a party, we're here to rebuild a country. we're not here to dedicate ourselves to new talking points coming from d.c. we're not here to put a fresh coat of rhetorical paint on our party. >> the biggest take-away from conferences? conservatives are in the middle of a messy brawl. the kind of knock-down, drag-out free for all where sarah palin jumps off her stool to throw punches at karl rove. >> the last thing we need is washington, d.c. vetting our candidates. the architects can head on back to --
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>> they can head on back to the lone star state and put their name on a ballot. >> i would say if i did run for office and win, i would serve out my term. i wouldn't leave office mid-term. >> the kind of fracas that sees ted cruz take on john mccain. >> we had an eminent member of the republican party describe me as whacko bird. if standing for the constitution makes me a whacko bird, then count me a proud whacko bird. >> the kind of intraparty donnybrook featuring ann coulter versus ann coulter. here is what she said two years ago. >> if you don't run chris christie, romney will be the nominee. and lose. >> and here is ann coulter this weekend, landing one squarely on the jaw of the very same guy she
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once wanted to elect president. >> even cpac had to cut back on his speakers this year by about 300 pounds. i'm now a single-issue voter against amnesty. so christie's off my list. >> the next national election is still 596 days away. but there's no rest for republican party still duking it out. how long before a victor is declared? republican strategist mike murphy is not optimistic. predicting we will be stuck in an age of chaos and factional warlords for a while. the battle royale will be the 2015 presidential primary season. robert, you could hear dog wiss in the background during some of those remarks at cpac. this is, i think we've seen a messy republican party over the course of last several months. but the coming, the sort of head-to-head at cpac, i thought was the strongest and starkest example of the challenges the party faces that we've seen in a
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long time. >> whatever you describe how the campaign went wrong as your autopsy, that's probably not the best way to do it. >> something that's already done. >> note to the scheduling department at the rnc, try not to schedule the autopsy's verdict for the day after the bar scene from "star wars" that is cpac. look, i think it's interesting because the rnc really is packaging. what you saw in those videos, those are the brands. those are the issues, those are what those voters are going to hear about whether or not they're receptive to things like immigration, more tolerant of gays and lesbians. more tolerant of women's issues. when in fact the rnc controls virtually none of that. and so when sarah palin -- it's interesting, she got the longest amount of time to speak. and though i wasn't there, according to the news reports, the most enthusiastic applause. she's not even in danger of being an elected official.
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i don't mean that derisively. she's decided to be an entertainer. she makes a huge amount of money doing that the most popular figures in the republican party, people like chris christie, get made fun of. and are uninvited because republicans say they don't have a future in the party. i do think mike murphy is right. this is not going to settle itself until quite frankly after the primary season. sometime in the early to mid part of 2016. when there's finally a nominee to rally behind. it's going to be awfully hard to somehow get the john mccains, the ted cruzs, the sarah palins and the chris christies all to sing off the same hymnal, because quite frankly, they don't have the same sheet music. >> i don't know that they're singing in the same tonal scale. if you look at cpac, i want to talk about the straw poll a little bit. rand paul won with 25% of the vote. marco rubio, at 23. rick santorum at 8 and chris christie at 7. i've maintained, and you're a national political reporter.
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the enthusiasm in and around rand paul is a coalition that is more dynamic than almost anything else the gop has. what are the implications of that in the next couple of years? especially as you have folks like jeb bush and chris christie. trying to move the country to more moderate and progressive in the lower-case "p" sense of the word. >> in covering ron paul, who of course rand paul is going to inherit the energy and enthusiasm from ron paul, you saw the biggest crowds, the most diverse crowds and the youngest crowds. that's what rand paul is going to capitalize on. should he run and it looks like he will run. i think over the last months and weeks you've seen obviously a split between the establishment and the tea party folks. rubio can't decide which one he is. rand paul, however, is very, i think solid and comfortable with his brand and who he is. it's part of ron paul, he's modified a little bit in terms of foreign affairs and international affairs. but i think he is a comer and folks in the republican party i talk to really like him.
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they think he's the person who can really intellectualize a tea party in the way that ron paul couldn't. he was a little meandering on the stump. they like what they see in terms of rand paul. and they also see in marco rubio somebody who might not be ready for the national stage in terms of the intellectual gravitas to go against somebody like hillary clinton. >> rand paul is so interesting. i went down to bowling green, kentucky and spent a few days with him when he was running in 2008. you talk to him on some issues back then, particularly on issues of foreign affairs. there he was at the time saying america has to look at itself to try to understand the genesis of the attacks of 9/11. of course he wasn't excusing them, but he was suggesting there was a role in america's foreign policy. he wants america to pull back. he pointed to a split within the republican party on national security before almost anybody else did. he really actually outlined some of the divisions. when you look at his policies what he stands for, abolishing the departments of education,
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commerce, trade, the federal reserve. i think when he gets more out there in the public, when he's not just giving a talk at cpac, i just think that what he says is going to be too extreme for members of the republican party who support still the hawkish line of american involvement in the world and i think for clearly when he gets into i think into middle america, for running for anything like a presidential nomination that would be a very tricky position, some of those domestic issues, too. >> eugene, this is coming at a time that the gop is trying to reconfigure, the autopsy, what do you do to a corpse to bring it back to life? there are specific policy recommendations, raines preeb is's document. one was about gay marriage and one was about immigration. how do you move the party on those issues when you're still dealing with fundamentals in terms of personality. >> a lot of people in the republican party got the message, got those messages at least from the election. and are ready to move on immigration.
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and are more open to moving on gay marriage. there's a sort of hard core of the party, of a base of the party that is not yet ready to move. and so one of the questions is, how much the establishment can move the party on those issues. and how much somebody like rand paul can move the party on defense spending for example and on the reach of u.s. involvement in the world. and i don't rule it out. i don't rule out that there will be movement. in fact in both of those directions. it will, however, be in the context of this, you know, clan warfare and rival warlords, whatever you like to say. >> people wearing war paint the raince priebus document is just full of incredible nuggets in terms of what they think they need to do. one of them is the minority vote. and what remains unclear is let's say they move on gay marriage. let's say they have a more progressive immigration stance. does that actually win them black voters? right? they're like dispatching teams
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of minority outreach people to presumably brooklyn to get back voters on board. and i will read this -- >> they will spend all $10 million right in brooklyn. >> but in the "daily beast" this nail it is it, republican probably overestimate the traction thooerl get from changing the color and accents of their pitchmen. the gop's assumption that while its voters are motivated by ideology, latino racial affinity. >> put tim scott in brooklyn and everyone in brooklyn is going to vote for the republican. i think they are overestimating that. black people, minorities, asians, latinos, vote based on policy and the document doesn't address policy. i also think republicans underestimate vastly, the deep-seated resentment of that minorities, particularly black people willow that i've talk to, surprised at the sort of visceral distaste and dislike
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they have for republicans. a lot of it, i think republicans thought, well post-obama they would be able to talk more frankly with black people. go into these communities and neighborhoods and sort of make amends. but i think they are really underestimating the hangover of all of the disrespect. >> and the hangover of the paul ryan budget. that would disproportionately -- >> and also obama care which is amazingly popular. incredibly popular among african-americans, latinos and asian americans and the republicans want to repeal it, still. >> and eugene is right. it goes back to the central problem in the autopsy. and that is, this is, they're approaching this as a marketing problem. and that somehow if we change the color of the cereal box, that inside the cereal will taste much better and sell better. this isn't about hiring more walmart greeters, right? this is about having them come into communities with a different message.
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that's what's going to be fundamentally hard. look, i -- took part in a really long, tough primary in 2007 and 2008 with hillary clinton. it went the distance. but it wasn't a divisive ideological prime. it was about who was going to be the salesman against never before african-american candidate and a never before female candidate at that level. and these guys are having a very, very different, as you can see from those clips, this is fundamentally and ideological. and those are going to be deep splits. and they're going to be harder eventually to piece back together once we have a nominee. and that's why i think it's just going to be so much harder. you can put people in these communities, but unless you give them a whole different series of things to say -- >> right. >> george bush, if you think about this, george bush in one of his first policy speeches when he ran for president in 1999, goes to the hispanic chamber of commerce in los
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angeles, and talks about expanding the federal role in education for african-americans and hispanics. tell me who from the republican party today is going to do that. >> i want to quickly, catty, before we go. the question we're talking about right now is authenticity and this morning hillary clinton came out and said she was supporting gay marriage and calls gay rights a basic human right. the clintons were sort of notorious for a while. bill clinton has come out voicing his support for gay marriage. come out for d.o.m.a., which he passed. they have sort of come to the light, if you will. republicans i think need to also have a, they need to go to authenticity school or wherever it is that you learn how to do this sort of stuff if they're going to move the party forward on this. >> the fact that they've called this the growth and opportunity project, i think says it all this is about, i know that this is is a strategy document for
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trying to win more votes. but why not call it something like, what we can do for middle class america. i mean, why not make this about the policies of the republican party that are going to help people, rather than how we can get more votes. i mean that for me said it all. and at the same time that this comes out, you have the republican congressman from tennessee suggesting we should have random drug testing of welfare recipients. there you have the exact opposite message coming out from a republican again, about how they view basically poor people. >> and unfortunately, we didn't have time to discuss this, this piece of strategy. establish an rnc celebrity task force of personalities in the entertainment industry as a way to attract younger voters. apparently -- gary busey ain't cutting it. but we'll have to talk about that at a later date. coming up on march 19th, 2003, the u.s. launched the invasion of iraq with a campaign the pentagon dubbed "shock and awe." but soon after toppling saddam hussein, the country and the conflict deteriorated. now ten years, thousands of
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deaths and billions of dollars later, the verdict is still out. we'll discuss the legacy of the war in iraq when rachel maddow joins us, just ahead. [ male announcer ] how do you measure happiness? by the armful? by the barrelful? the carful? how about...by the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. ♪ 'cause germs don't stick on me ♪ [ female announcer ] band-aid brand has quiltvent technology with air channels to let boo boos breathe. [ giggles ] [ female announcer ] quiltvent technology, only from band-aid brand. use with neosporin first aid antibiotic.
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what good are facts if they don't support the narrative? so it was with the bush administration as its officials beat the drums of war. >> simply stated -- there is no doubt that saddam hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. there is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends.
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against our allies, and against us. >> we'll examine the fallacies and the truths ten years later when rachel maddow joins us next on "now." [ jackie ] it's just so frustrating...
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[ female announcer ] from finding the best way... ♪ to finding the best catch... ♪ wireless is limitless. this is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world. states like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. >> ten years ago, america went to war in iraq based on a series of lies, false intelligence, imagined threats and unproven claims. a new msnbc documentary, "hubris" reexamines the war and the salesmanship that led to us the invasion. it began on the the afternoon of september 11th, when george w. bush and his national security team tasked a top aide to find the connection between osama bin laden and saddam hussein. >> we all looked at each other
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like what, what are they talking about? who the hell -- saddam hussein? bin laden hates him, thinks he's a heretic. there's no connection between saddam hussein and al qaeda. >> at the time, intelligence discounting the hussein/bin laden link was discarded by the bush administration. the white house instead continued to use exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims to make the case that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction. but the administration did not act alone. story of how we went to war in iraq is one of widespread institutional failure. implicating both congress and the media. >> the threat of saddam hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real. >> it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our president. and we say to him -- use these powers wisely and as a last resort. >> i think the bush administration took a great deal of satisfaction in being able to cite the supposedly liberal "new
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york times," in making their case for it. >> we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. >> and so, ten years ago this week, america set out to topple saddam hussein's regime. it took less than three weeks to destroy his government, but the war that everyone thought would be short dragged on for nine bloody years. the war in iraq may have officially ended, but the costs and blood and treasure continue to haunt us. the iraq war cost more than $3 trillion. it killed nearly 4500 americans and wounded 32,000 others. it killed an estimated 114,000 iraqis. and while the death toll is a stark reminder of the cost of war, the lesson to be drawn from the last ten years remains unclear even today. joining us from new york is msnbc's rachel maddow. her book, "drift" is out now in paperback. rachel, thank you so much for joining us on such an important topic. >> sure, thanks for having me.
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>> you've done some great writing about war and what war means to america. i guess in thinking about all that and the writing that you've done and of course the documentary, do you think there is a lesson to be taken away from the iraq war? and if so, what is it? >> you know when we did "hubris" one of the things i thought was important to do is not time it to the invasion of iraq. the anniversary of the invasion is tomorrow and wednesday, but to time it sort of to the lying that got us into the invasion of iraq. i mean for me, the lessons are, the lessons that we've got to learn, which i'm not sure we've learned are about how we got there. the case to go to war was full of holes, it was made up. it was deliberately made up. and our political system, including the media, was not good enough, was not rigorous enough to ferret that out. so there was something wrong institutionally with the debate not being good enough. the other thing that happened was sort of a more meta problem. and that is that we thought that going to war would be easy in
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iraq. george w. bush did an interview with "reuters" after the supreme court case that decided he would be president and before he was inaugurated. he did a 45-minute interview with "reuters" in which before he was even sworn in, he was threatening to go to war with iraq. once 9/11 happened, they said how can we use this to get the public to go along with what we already want to do. why did they already want to start a war? why did they think it was solve problems? and why did they think it would be so easy? that, i think, is not just a george w. bush administration problem, that's an american problem with us coming to think that the military is the easiest solution to many of our biggest problems. >> robert, i want to ask you as someone who has worked in the administration and has worked with the president, who is currently in office, how much has the legacy of iraq shaped president obama's view in terms of military engagement? we talk about syria a lot and there's some thinking, there's some wisdom out there that he doesn't want to get involved there because he understands
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what a quote-unquote quagmire it can be to get involved in a situation where there is no clear end point. >> well i think first of all, he's the commander-in-chief because of that decision. we, we forget because by the time we came into office in 2009, it was all about the economy. but the animating event really for three years, leading up to that election, was iraq. i definitely think, i think it is, i think it will have a huge impact, it has on this commander-in-chief and will have on future commanders in chief. because they understand that without some popular support, it's hard to go about doing -- a lot of military action. without some broad popular support among people to do something like this, there's very little taste to park tens of thousands of people in a place like syria. that even though it's important, has less of a connection to folks here at home. they understand now probably
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more than ever, the real costs of the war. not just in dollars, but in lives and in injuries and in things like ptsd, which we'll quite frankly be dealing with for a lifetime. >> rachel i want to talk about the veterans' angle on this and we speak about the cost of war. we often forget about those still living if you're look at what's happening to veterans, there are 600,000 of veterans who have backlog claims waiting for benefits. the average waiting time is 273 days. if you're in a big city in a veteran, it's 642 days in new york. you've written in your book, in "drift" you talk about how the whole country doesn't fight wars any more. we don't pay war taxes and the battle is effectively outsourced to a very small group of americans who are willing to go over. how do we change that? sort of reinstituting a draft, what do we need to do to treat our veterans bet centre these concerns should be first and foremost when we talk about the costs of war and what it means
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for our country to go to war. >> i mean it was roughly 1.1 million american who is fought in iraq. but for those 1.1 million americans, they did 2.3 million deployments. so we had 2.3 million people there, but the burden was shared by people who were going on average more than twice. so fighting the longest war in american history, which we're in right now, for eight and a half of the years we were in that war, we were also fighting a second, simultaneous large land war. and in total, we had 1% of the population do all of that fighting in both of those wars for us. now some people look at that and say -- we ought to have a draft so that the sacrifice is shared more broadly. that's no magic bullet. certainly there's a good argument to have about whether or not sacrifice like that should be more widely shared. but now that we have done that, this isn't just something hypothetical. we've now got 12 years of veterans that we created in this country. that we've got to do right by. and i do think that the public loves veterans and i think that we respect them for their service and we consider them to
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be heroes for a reason. but that hasn't necessarily been followed through with policy. it's more of an emotional thing than making sure that we are doing right by them. that backlog at the v.a. is getting worse, not better. and for that to be happening while we all feel great about veterans and want them to be treated well -- for me is a real moral hazard, for us as a country. you can't have the emotional pay-off without the responsibility. it becomes sort of emotionally pornographic to feel good about it without making sure it's right. that's what's happening right now with the v.a. being stuck in reverse. >> eugene, the unemployment rate among veterans is 9.4%. 203,000 of them were looking for jobs last month. one in ten of our vets is looking for a job. >> unconscionable is the word. and it's something that you, that theoretically both parties agree on, you know, it makes everybody feel good as rachel said. to express our concern about the veterans. but it doesn't translate into
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policy. and guess what, look at the budgets that are coming out. it's not going to translate into policy. unless, unless things change. >> rachel, before we go, i want to talk about sort of how the republican party has changed, we just have a lot of sound from cpac, talking a lot about rand paul. we've spent the last couple of weeks saying in terms of the drone program in terms of stand with rand. how the republican party has sort of a cleave and there's a wing of it has decidedly against military intervention. that is in contrast to national security hawks like john mccain and lindsay graham. you know, to what degree has iraq informed that position in your mind? and do you think that that we are seeing a real fundamental shift in terms of where that party has been on national security? >> it's such an interesting question. and such an important question. and i think the sort of paul-light wing of the republican party is not taken seriously by other republicans on national security. still look to you know, john mccain and lindsay graham as their serious guys on national security. and they think that the
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paul-lite wing is cute. but rand doesn't always get his facts right and he doesn't always comport himself with the seriousness that some of the things he talks about demands. he doesn't take himself seriously enough to always get what he's saying factually correct. but what he's offering as another way forward in republican thinking on foreign policy is sorely needed. it's a real problem that the republican party isn't willing to admit that the iraq war was about idea. when mitt romney gave his speech at cpac this weekend, he said iraq was a war of liberation, you can repackage the republican party all you want. but unless you guys are going it acknowledge that iraq was a bad idea, it was your bad idea, you were wrong to vote for it and you won't do it again, i don't think you're going to be attracting a lot of new young voters any time to you soon. >> it's worth noting that 73% of democrats say we made a mistake going to war in iraq. 66% of republicans said we did not make a mistake. so the party lines are very clear. so rachel if we would invite you back every single day to talk
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about this, we would. but we know you have a show to put together. >> thank you so much. >> rachel maddow, the host of the "rachel maddow show" hubris, i will be talking more about "hubris" and the journalists who broke the story, with chris matthews and chris hayes. as president obama prepares for his first presidential visit to israel, support for the country has never been higher. but that doesn't mean that americans want the white house brokering a peace deal any time soon. we'll preview the president's trip and the unbreakable yet complicated bond between the two countries just ahead. oh this is soft. this is so so soft. hey hun, remember you only need a few sheets. hmph! [ female announcer ] charmin ultra soft is so soft you'll have to remind your family they can use less. ♪ charmin ultra soft is made with extra cushions
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would replace hilda solis, the first hispanic woman to lead a cabinet agency. president obama's nomination is just the beginning of what will be a busy weem for president obama. he's set to embark on a whirlwind tour of israel this week. his first presidential visit to the country. we'll discuss objectives and potential pitfalls next on "now." (dog) larry,larry,larrryyy. why take exercise so seriously,when it can be fun? push-ups or sprints? what's wrong with fetch? or chase? let's do this larry! ooh, i got it, i got it! (narrator) the calorie-smart nutrition in beneful healthy weight... includes grains and real chicken, because a healthy dog is a playful dog. beneful healthy weight. find us on facebook to help put more play in your day. anbe a name and not a number?tor
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less-anticipated trip to israel by an american president. the president is not expected to present any concrete proposals to foster peace in the region when he meets with prime minister benjamin netanyahu. the trip is being seen as a chance for the two countries to mend fences. a new poll finds that only 10% of israelis view president obama favorably. something he will try to change on thursday when speaks directly to the israeli people. in an address to thousands of students in jerusalem. politico describes president obama's itinerary as symbolism on steroids. the president will view the dead sea scrolls, and lay wreaths at the burial sites and and inspect an anti-missile battery. meanwhile, the "los angeles times" reports that for its part, israel sees the president's trip as a rare opportunity to garner some good press and is rolling out the red carpet. 1,000 u.s. and israeli flags will be hung notice streets of jerusalem.
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netanyahu's government has given president obama's visit his own iphone app and and an official logo showing u.s. and israeli flags morphed into one. katty, an iphone app, but low expectations. >> we thought we had the special relationship. >> we thought that was unbreakable. i wan to read a quote from tom friedman. he said the israeli-palestinian conflict has shifted from a necessity to a hobby. like any hobby, some days you work on it, some days you don't. but it usually doesn't matter when the sweater gets finished. >> actually the president should be happy about 10%. i think robert, i'm right, thinking his approval rating fell to 4% at one time during his first term in office in israel. this is president obama who said he didn't want to make a trip to israel unless it was going to have meaning, unless there was
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going to have some concrete result of it. nobody is expecting any movement on the peace process there is no peace process between the israelis and palestinians that we can talk of. and benjamin netanyahu is in a weak position at home. what he's being pushed on by israeli voters are economic issues and social issues and not the peace process, that's not high on their list, so he doesn't particularly want to make moves on that the president doesn't see there's any way forward on that. and the only thing really i think you're going to have meaningful discussion on that is of consequence and needs to happen urgently is what to did about iran and the nuclearization process. >> i think you're exactly right. the president is almost going here as a tourist. he would probably be better if he were to wear a mitt romney mask. >> as long as he takes it off before he arrives back in the united states. >> exactly. and the palestinians aren't viewing the president very favorably either. i think he has a 77% disapproval
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rating among that group. i think the president, we've seen the limits of the president's ability to sort of find a middle way with such a difficult situation here. he initially went in thinking that he needed to show daylight between israel and particularly took up the issue of settlements, pushed back hard against the settlements in those initial meetings with netanyahu. and the palestinians looked at that and said, well you're showing daylight, but you're not willing to show any muscle to actually make anything happen. so he's in a difficult position. and we'll see what happens out of this, out of this sort of photo op that he's going to have. >> it's easy to see the middle way, it's easy to see, draw the map of the two-state solution, the problem is the israelis don't want to go there, the palestinians aren't particularly interested right now in going there. they don't want to talk to each other. >> there's not much you can do. symbolism on steroids, you have to do symbolism when you go to
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jerusalem. everywhere you walk is symbolic of something. >> i thought it was interesting, robert, an abc news/"washington post" poll today shows that 7 in 10 americans want americans want to u.s. to leave solving the conflict to the israelis and the palestinians. this is something that every president at least makes some sort of presumes to be involved in, which is the middle east peace process. and the fact that there is basically no american appetite for it would seem to be a sort of shift. >> i think what the poll demonstrates is that the process is always aided and helped when we are involved in it but we cannot construct middle east peace for the israelis and the palestinians. we can help the process. we can foster that die long. but as eugene said. people have seen the maps for 20 years, right? we know what has to happen
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within each of these two territories to make this happen. it's a political will on each side to make it happen. what makes this really tough is, it's hard to imagine that the next leader of the palestinians is going to be as empowered as abbas is to get a two-state solution. it is also harder to see a settlement building continues in places like the west bank. how that isn't changing the calculus of a two-state solution. and i think the president fears that you have a window that is closing. but the truth is, we can only be part of an active part of that process, you cannot force these two sides to cut a deal quite frankly that they're either unwilling to cut or that each of their own countries -- >> but presidents have been more activist in promoting diet log than barack obama has been. we've seen more engagement from america than we've seen over the course of the last four years in trying to get the two sides to talk to each other. you're right, you've had
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benjamin netanyahu who has shifted to the right and you've got the palestinians pulled by hamas to a more extreme position as well. so it's hard. the facts on the ground are harder. >> you can't get a two-state solution just with abbas. gaza is now control paid group that we won't talk to. so that's a result of you know, the desire to have an election in gaza, in 2006. which resulted in because of lack of economic opportunity and corruption, in fatah, it resulted in hamas winning that election. it's a complicated process that that's only gotten more complicated. >> if you recall, george w. bush's attitude towards middle east piece before 9/11, was you know my number. call me up. call me maybe. >> you know, he specifically didn't want to -- >> please don't call him.
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>> now we're at a point where prime minister netanyahu is in a weaker position. so he may not be able to deliver the israeli side especially given the situation of the settlements. it's hard to see how this moves. >> i think yettenia hue has always been distrustful of americans' intervention in that process, anyway. >> and he hasn't really gotten along all that well with the president, robert, as i'm sure you remember and it's always been tense. you know, is there going to be a tense moment? can he get through this trip seamlessly and win over some more popularity points with the israeli public. >> and awkward press conference. >> can they do anything on iran behind closed doors, i think you said katty, if they're discussing anything, it's that. we have it take a break. more than a third of u.s. states now ban the death penalty. polling shows that support for capital punishment is down and the costs of pursuing executions is much higher than nondeath penalty cases, we'll discuss
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putting an end to capital punishment coming up next. ♪ [ male announcer ] this is a reason to look twice. the stunning lexus es. get great values on your favorite lexus models during the command performance sales event. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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following a bipartisan vote in the state's house of delegates last week, maryland will soon join 17 other states in banning the death penalty. the state's shift is indicative of a larger trend toward abolishing capital punishment. connecticut, illinois, new jersey, new mexico and new york all banned the death penalty in the past six years. eugene i think it's a ray of hope that we're moving towards this, given the fact that people justice initiative reports for every nine people executed in this country, one innocent person has been exonerated. >> that's the big issue, whatever you think about it morally, we all agree, we should not execute the wrong person and that's what we've been doing and the death penalty has that finality about it, you can't take it back. >> what's done is done.
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>> that's why the rest of the civilized world basically -- >> you see them not making the morality argument at this point. they're making the argument about efficiency and costs, it's almost like a tea party argument that martin o'malley is making interesting. here's a man that probably runs to president if hillary clinton doesn't run. >> if robert gibbs doesn't run. >> exactly, exactly. >> that caveat is important. >> he feels like as a democrat, this is an issue he can run on. we remember it didn't work out too well for michael dukakis and for years democrats for president felt like they had to play the tough guy around the death penalty. >> and also the technology, we have dna evidence that's getting people off death row and to the cost piece as nia said, cases in which prosecutors sought the death penalty cost three time more than nondeath penalty cases. >> america's argument for being the only industrialized nation that has the death penalty has always been the deterrence argument and you look at the
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states that don't have the death penalty, and the murder rate is lower than states that do have the death penalty. there's no clear indication that it works as a deterrence. >> the dna evidence as you mentioneds has also proved what nia said, it proves that mistakes have happened. you have stories of bad counsel, people falling asleep trying to defend death penalty, somebody up for the death penalty. i think it's a less of i'm tough on crime deal now than it probably was five, ten, or 15 years ago. it's interesting to see issues like gay marriage and issues like the death penalty in a short period of time play big roles in presidential politics, mike dukakis as you said, or in ohio with gay marriage in 2004. and to watch just in a shorter period of time. how much the culture of those issues changes. >> that said, the prison population in the u.s. has risen from 200,000 to 2.3 million people in the past 40 years. hopefully this conversation
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segues to a larger conversation about justice reform and the disproportionate share of minorities either on death row or behind bars. we have to leave it there on that upbeat note. thank you to robert, nia, katty and eugene. that's all for now, i will see you back in new york city tomorrow at noon eastern when i'm joined by joy reed, howard fineman, jacob wiseberg, david wood and james cavalirville. you can find me on facebook.com/now. "andrea mitchell reports" is coming up next. ou can do that a, i don't like v8 juice. [ male announcer ] how about v8 v-fusion. a full serving of vegetables, a full serving of fruit. but what you taste is the fruit. so even you... could've had a v8. at a hertz expressrent kiosk, you can rent a car without a reservation... and without a line. now that's a fast car. it's just another way you'll be traveling at the speed of hertz.
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